What is your training missing?
It’s time for a little reflection. If you look back a few months ago, a year ago, 4 years ago, what about your fitness routine and your fitness level has changed? How many of your major goals have you accomplished? Can you look at a picture from 2 years ago and say, “Wow, I can’t believe how out of shape I was!” with pride knowing how far you’ve come? Can you look back 6 months ago and say, “It’s so awesome my knees have been pain free for 6 whole months!” If you really reflect, I hope that some things have improved for you and that you are on a path of health and happiness. If you are not, if you really are just spinning your wheels there might be a few things holding you back. You can easily change these things with minimal effort. Even if you only change one of these things it could make all the difference!
1. Variety– Are you doing the same machines? Are you working out for the same amount of time? Are you doing the same weight/reps? Are you always doing the same classes? It’s time to mix it up! This is one of the biggest keys to constant improvement as well as keeping your workouts interesting! Go outside your comfort zone and try something a little bit different!
2. Intensity– Not every workout needs to end with you puking in a garbage can. However, not all workouts should end with you skipping down the street without any fatigue or soreness. Everyone has a different idea of how intense a workout should be. In my personal opinion as long as you feel proud of the things you did in the gym (how much weight you lifted, how fast you swam, how high you jumped, etc) then you are on the right track. Just going through the motions will get you nowhere. You must push yourself to some extent nearly every time you do a workout.
3. Rest Days– Have you been working out in the gym every day for the past month? It’s time to take some time off. This does not mean you have to sit on the couch without moving for days. It means, change your idea of what rest is. Go for a walk instead of coming into the gym for the 24th day in a row. Garden, play with your kids, clean out the garage, or take your dog on a hike. To get the most out of your workouts your body needs time to recover and your mind needs time to go on autopilot. Enjoy some time out of the confines of the club!
4. Fun– If there isn’t anything enjoyable about your workouts, you are headed for trouble. There should always be something that you look forward to in your workouts. Maybe it’s just the stretch at the end. Maybe it’s your favorite lift, watching TV while you run, working out with friends, or your favorite song in spinning class. No matter what, there should ALWAYS be something enjoyable about your workout!
5. Multi-directional Movement– We generally move in one direction…forward. It’s very important to train in all planes of motion (frontal, sagittal, transverse); this is especially true if you are an endurance sport athlete. Too much time in one direction means that you aren’t working supporting muscles. You can only gain so much strength if you are only working one group of muscles! Besides, the lateral movements will also add variety!
6. Stretching– I’ll be the first to say it, stretching sucks. But if you want to be the fastest, strongest, and most fit looking you can be, you need to stretch. The more pliable you keep your muscles, the more they can contract, the bigger range of motion you will have, the more muscle fibers you will have to use, and the more capacity your joints will have to maintain good form. While it might be boring and or painful, it’s absolutely necessary for keeping a healthy body.
7. Small Muscle Work– This goes along with stretching. If you don’t improve the little helpers in your body, then they cannot help the bigger muscles perform to their highest potential. Increasing the little muscles around a joint will keep the joint healthy and moving in a full range of motion!
8. Resistance– Increasing resistance will help your muscles grow and help increase cardiac output. We don’t all have goals of back squatting 500lbs but only doing air squats will only improve your muscle tone, joint stability, and caloric burn minimally. So pick up a medicine ball, grab 2.5lb heavier weights than you normally use, and put an extra magnet on your weight stack. Giving your body something to work against will pay off leaps and bounds when it comes to increased strength. You’ll thank me the next time you have to help your brother move that big couch!
So keep working hard, keep having fun, and keep things fresh and interesting. Have goals, achieve them, and then set new ones! Make each workout count and be an inspiration to yourself as well as others!
If you need any help please contact Adriana Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org